Fazil, the startup that aims to change the relationship of young people with banking. This startup has set itself the main objective of being the neobank of the new generations. Fazil promises maximum digitization and sustainability, both terms with which today’s young people feel very identified.
Millennials are a generation driving change, which has put in check values and institutions, which until now, had a clear influence on society. This is the case of traditional banking.
The attunement between young people and banks does not seem to be very fluid , since according to a report by The Millennial Disruption Index, 71% of millennials prefer to go to the dentist than listen to the banks. In addition, one in three assures that in five years they will not need a bank.
All these data were taken into account by Ignacio Santos and his partners when launching Fazil. This startup has set itself the main objective of being the neobank for the new generations.
“We realized that traditional banking does not represent the values of the new generations,” says Santos while explaining that Fazil is a 100% digital account designed to control and pay all daily expenses with the mobile phone, which “It has no commissions, conditions, or plastic cards.”
In this sense, Santos emphasizes the importance of creating a banking project that will speak to young people in their own language. “Traditional banking generally speaks a complex language that young people often do not understand and this makes us see banks as something really complex and, at times, generates rejection”.
For Santos, the “bad reputation” that traditional banking has accumulated for years has caused them to lose the trust of users. “This represents a new opportunity for the sector and we believe that a day will come when even traditional financial services or at least those as we know them today will disappear,” he says.
It is precisely in this ‘hole’ in the sector that Fazil wants to work to reconcile millennials with the concept of banking. In this way,it promises maximum digitization and sustainability, both terms with which today’s young people feel very identified.
Digitization and sustainability, key factors
Regarding the first, digitization, Fazil has a fully digital and ‘mobile first’ business policy in which its customers can manage all their banking operations through their mobile device.
Fazil is not the first neobank with a totally digital strategy, but according to Santos, most of them “are losing their initial focus and are becoming just another bank, although without physical offices.” Therefore, he assures that his plan with Fazil is to go further and become an alternative business model to traditional banking. “Creating it is our project,” he says.
As for the second, Fazil is committed to sustainability and plants a tree for every 1,000 euros that each user spends. “As far as possible, we would like to make it easier for our users to offset their own carbon footprint,” he adds. For this group of young entrepreneurs, caring for the environment goes beyond a mere marketing campaign. “It is a simple question of values.
The new generations are much clearer than the previous ones that we must take care of the planet ”, Santos comments. This startup relies on technological advances to virtualize physical credit and debit cards. “Is it necessary to send all our users a physical card so that they can use their money? We believe that it no longer is, ”Santos asks.
Bank vs neobank
But how does the concept of a neobank differ from a typical bank? Santos explains that, although for his clients there are no dissimilarities for practical purposes, Fazil cannot call himself a bank due to legal terms.
“Although for users it can be seen as a bank due to the operational capacity we have, the truth is that we do not have a banking license but rather we leverage ourselves in the figure of Electronic Money Entity of our partner Pecunpay”, he explains.
This is why Fazil’s name is usually accompanied by the ‘catch phrase’ ‘not a bank’ or ‘neobank’. In this way, according to Santos, they avoid legal problems while helping users better understand their proposal.
Success in Crowdfunding Bizkaia
This startup has not been too long, it was in full confinement when its four founders consolidated the idea, but nevertheless they managed to break records in the Crowdfunding Bizkaia platform by carrying out the pre-seed financing roundfastest in the Basque Country. Thus, they launched a round with an investment objective of 160,000 euros within 30 days.
“The surprise came basically in the first hour after opening the campaign since in less than 60 minutes the progress bar was at 100%”, recalls Santos. Around his project was created what is known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), a sensation that causes interested parties to rush to invest for fear of losing the opportunity. “We had to increase the target to 117% because many people wrote to us saying that they had not had time to enter.”
The founders’ expectations are to position Fazil as one of the main neobanks in Europe, but they are aware of the difficulties that still lie ahead. “We are four founding partners, with very limited capital and we compete against giants with hundreds or even thousands of employees and millions of euros of cash flow,” acknowledges Santos, who also assures that they will do everything possible to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
“Having such a small structure allows us to adopt and implement new ideas very quickly and we see this as a very good competitive advantage over competitors with larger structures.” For now, Fazil plans to position itself as one of the main neobanks in Spain, while continuing to implement improvements to its business idea.